How much costs information are we required to give to beneficiaries.
I am dealing with an intestate estate and my client has obtained letters of administration and one of the beneficiary’s wants a costs estimate. should I give a full breakdown or just an rough estimate or advise costs are an expenses of the estate and will be in the accounts in due course
The Legal ombudsman seem to disagree, I thought my contract was with my client. Apparently the beneficiary’s have a right to question my costs and I am obliged to disclose my costs estimate and any costs charged to the beneficiary’s even if this is not agreed by my client.
Rightly or wrongly, when a practitioner is employed by a Personal Representative to administer an estate the LO and the SRA have both determined that all the estate beneficiaries are ‘users of the law firm’s services’ and are therefore owed a duty of care. This needs to be borne in mind when deciding whether to impart or withhold information. It is, of course, fertile ground for a conflict of interest if the PR disagrees with the release of information and refuses to permit it…